Friday, January 26, 2007

Who should die?

Death penalty issues are always interesting to watch. They're so charged with emotion on all sides, from the victims' families wanting revenge or death (the "eye for an eye" theory), to the inmates pleading for life, advocates arguing against unjust behavior, and the legal world debating what the law says about "insanity" and methods of death.

Good stuff. Now, an Indiana lawmaker has pitched an idea of voluntary selection of the death penalty. In other words, anyone sentenced to at least 200 years inprisonment or life without parole can elect for this death option. Of course, any deemed "mentally ill" would be excluded from all this somehow. How fascinating!

This comes following a recent decision from Indiana Supreme Court justices disagreeing on the issue, but ultimately deciding to halt the execution of a "mentally ill" man condemed for shooting a state tropper back in 1993. They want to hear what the U.S. Supreme Court Justices say about the issue - specifically, if someone is sane enough to be executed. (Not to be confused with sane enough to be tried or assistance in defense). Plus, the way our Indiana man was supposed to go was by lethal injection - also a controversial topic. As of today, North Carolina became the 11st state to block executions as it studies how to change its lethal injection procedures. Apparently, many are starting to think and examine if this process is "cruel and unusual" because it allegedly causes "undo suffering, pain." Hmmm....

All this begs the question? When it comes to the justice system, who are we executing for? Are we putting someone to death for the benefit of victims' families and friends, or moreso as a way to supposedly "teach a lesson." Prove a point. Should it matter what the crime and nature of offense is?

This one also has a nice political over/under tone: CNN reports today that President has Okd the killing of Iranians plotting attacks in Iraq. We can kill those people, without "justice." - though, is this more a national/international security issue than one of moral eptitude? Taking life is certainly an interesting one to debate and ponder...

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